Rockies and Plains Program Senior Representative

  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Bozeman, MT, United States
  • Mar 17, 2017
Full time Advocacy Biology/Ecology Communication/Public Outreach Natural Resources Wildlife/Endangered Species

Job Description

Location: Bozeman, Montana or Denver, Colorado 


This Rockies and Plains Program Senior Representative position is responsible for developing, overseeing and implementing assigned Defenders’ strategic conservation objectives and strategies in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions, with a focus on three key species that occur primarily within these regions – bison, black-footed ferrets and sage grouse – and the habitats they require, as well as regional ESA-listed species and their habitats.

Conservation priorities include:
1) restoring, protecting, improving and expanding habitats for key and ESA species on public, tribal and private lands;
2) restoring and increasing populations of bison, black-footed ferrets, sage grouse and regional ESA listed species;
3) improving conservation and management of public lands in these regions;
4) working with interested tribes on habitat conservation and restoration and species conservation and management.

The senior representative pursues conservation objectives through a variety of tools including: wildlife restorations; relocations and habitat restoration; policy advocacy; review and comment on state and federal agency projects; coalition building; public outreach; litigation; and other means. This position requires knowledge and experience in a broad array of Rockies and Plains conservation issues, such as state and federal endangered species policy, state and federal land management policy, private land conservation, landscape level planning and conservation biology. The senior representative may oversee contractors working for Defenders on some of these issues. Knowledge of and familiarity with key stakeholders, agencies and organizations engaged in conserving Rockies and Plains wildlife and habitat is required, as well as established ties to the larger conservation community. The senior representative will work collaboratively with other Defenders staff in the Rockies and Plains program and throughout Defenders in implementing the overall mission and goals of Defenders, and may be responsible for additional wildlife-related conservation and other duties as assigned.


  • Assist with the development and implementation of work plans relevant to the Rockies and Plains program, contributing to the achievement of plan goals and benchmarks

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships and partnerships with relevant conservation partners and stakeholders

  • Work with landowners, tribes and federal managers on the conservation and restoration of bison, black-footed ferrets, sage grouse, ESA-listed species and Great Plains ecosystems, promoting human-wildlife coexistence and tolerance for wildlife on the landscape

  • Influence federal, state, and local wildlife policies and management for listed and key species through administrative, legislative, judicial, and other forums, using a range of strategies including:

  • Seeking policy and programmatic changes by relevant state and federal agencies

  • Recommending litigation where appropriate and providing technical support

  • Recommending and facilitating species restoration and reintroduction projects as appropriate

  • Participating in direct and grassroots lobbying of the U.S. Congress and appropriate state legislatures and agencies

  • Monitor and strategically engage on significant state and federal activities and prepare comments on proposed land-use activities in coordination with other programs in Defenders

  • Serve as spokesperson for Defenders; represent Defenders and Defenders’ interests to the public, the media, and key decision-makers, and in working groups, committees, and processes

  • Inform the public and Defenders’ members on key issues through mailings, e-mail alerts, social media, dissemination of educational materials, and Defenders magazine

  • Work with Defenders’ national headquarters staff to provide information to members, foundations, and other donors, and help identify and develop potential sources of funding to support work activities and Defenders’ priorities

  • Develop a network of experts and grassroots activists to assist Defenders in accomplishing its objectives

  • Identify key information relating to policy, strategy, and decision-making, and communicate it as appropriate and in a timely manner to the immediate supervisor and other relevant staff members

  • As needed, assist and advise the director of the Rockies and Plains program in problem-solving in regard to regional and national programs

  • Maintain a complete and well-organized collection of information relevant to relevant wildlife and conservation issues

  • Supervise support staff, volunteers, and contractors as necessary

  • Submit timely and complete accounting of activities and expenses

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: A Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, wildlife management, conservation biology, forest ecology, political science, natural resources management, environmental planning, environmental or public policy, or a related discipline in the natural resources discipline. Advanced degree preferred.

  • Experience: 10+ years of experience with conservation advocacy, federal land use management and policy, conservation biology, endangered species policy, natural resources management or wildlife conservation policy.  Experience with state legislative procedures, wildlife and conservation programs, media relations, and coalition building.  Fundraising, grant writing and experience with private landowners and state agencies a plus.

  • An equivalent combination of demonstrated education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Other:

  • Ability to engage with leaders in the conservation community, federal and state agencies and other organizations

  • Ability to negotiate with staff across organizations to reach agreements on complex broad policy issues; demonstrated ability to work productively in coalitions of environmental organizations

  • Ability to lead diverse stakeholders in collaborative activities; to anticipate policy issues impacting wildlife and make recommendations within Defenders and other organizations

  • Ability to elevate public awareness of issues and build a constituency for solutions

  • Excellent verbal communications skills with the ability to conduct presentations for large and diverse audiences

  • Ability to work independently to initiate project ideas as well as to manage them through to completion; track record and professional judgment to work independently and with minimal supervision

  • Ability to work constructively as a member of a team; excellent interpersonal skills and judgment with the ability to work productively with both colleagues and opponents

  • Strong research and writing skills with attention to detail; excellent strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities

  • Ability to respond constructively to unexpected change; to exercise appropriate judgment in complex situations

  • Personal interest in and commitment to conservation


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.

  • Ability to walk in natural areas including rugged terrain to perform field work on occasion.


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

  • Occasional weekend and evening work required.

  • Occasional field working conditions involving walking in rugged terrain.

  • Travel in the Rockies and Plains region is required.

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places. 

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

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Job Level



Nonprofit- NGO